Speaking at the second Brussels Development Briefing on 17 October, Sir John Kaputin, Secretary General of the ACP Secretariat helped to set the stage, contextualising the initiative and the role of agriculture in ACP countries.
Reminding participants of the importance of agriculture for ACP countries, Sir Kaputin stressed that in Africa 80% of population still lives in rural areas and bases its income on small scale farming. These communities confronted with new challenges, such as climate change and a liberalised and competitive market environment, which lower productivity and heavily impact on the lives of people.
Looking at this picture, and pointing out that agriculture clearly is the way out of poverty in most countries, Sir Kaputin called for “sound policies” to support agricultural development at local, national, and regional levels.
The Communication on “Advancing African Agriculture” goes in the right direction as it addresses exactly these elements. Nevertheless, there needs to be a more concrete calendar of action, where the division of labour among sectors and between donors is a prerequisite for success.
Sir Kaputin also underlined the importance of well-defined partnerships that involve all the stakeholders, to enhance ownership and commitment. Participation of African civil society will be essential.
Sir John Kaputin reflects on the outcomes of the first panel discussion and advocates a prominent role for agriculture in the EPAs negotiations
See more from the 17 October briefing